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Little Free Library

What is Little Free Library?

Little Free Library (LFL) is a community free book exchange. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. These libraries are typically in the form of a small wooden box mounted on a post and are located where passersby can easily access the books.

Placing your Little Free Library in the City of San Rafael

Any individual or organization desiring to place a LFL should be advised that LFLs meeting the below listed conditions are not subject to permitting or licensing requirements of the City.  LFLs are permitted in any zoning district; provided that, all such Libraries meet the following placement requirements:

  • Shall not be located within or overhang the public street right-of-way or any public easement;
  • Shall not obstruct vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic, either physically, or by a person utilizing the LFL;
  • Shall not obstruct access aisles or paths utilized by persons in wheelchairs or for ADA accessibility;
  • May be placed as a permitted obstruction in a required front yard (area between the front wall of a building and the public street right-of-way);
  • Enclosures shall be sized and arranged such that no person or child is able to enter;
  • Shall be anchored to the ground or otherwise securely attached to something having a permanent location on the ground.

Though not required on private property, the ADA recommends that the library should:

  • Have a level space in front that is 5’x5’
  • Have operational portions (latch, knobs) that are no higher than 48”;
  • Have a depth that does not exceed the side reach from a wheel chair at 10”
  • Have latches and knobs that do not require twisting of the wrist to open

The City encourages prospective operators of LFLs to submit proposed locations for review by City staff to ensure the above listed requirements have been satisfied.

What is the right of way?

A street right of way (ROW) typically includes the street and the sidewalks adjacent to our city streets.  LFLs should be placed outside of area shown as “public right of way” in the image on the right

Note: This image is illustrative only. Street configurations vary greatly in the City.

Free Little Library

Contact

For more information, please contact the Department of Public Works at encroachmentpermits@cityofsanrafael.org.

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